INLD wants assembly meet to ban same-gotra marriages

May 26th, 2010 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Wednesday sought a special session of the Haryana assembly to move a resolution to amend the Hindu Marriage Act and to ban marriages in the same ‘gotra’ (lineage).
The main opposition party in the state has come out openly in favour of the khap panchayats’ (community councils) demand for such an amendment.

INLD legislators — state president Ashok Arora, Ram Pal Majra, and Krishan Panwar — sent a notice to Speaker Harmohinder Singh Chatha for a non-official resolution to be moved in the assembly seeking an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act.

They demanded that till the act is not amended, the central government should promulgate an ordinance to impose a ban on same ‘gotra’ marriages.

The communication from the INLD leaders said same ‘gotra’ marriages should be prohibited in the country to maintain social balance and harmony and to honour customs.

The INLD support for the khaps seems to be targetted at garnering votes in the rural areas in the June 6 and 12 panchayat elections in the state.

In the wake of the village council polls in Haryana, no political party can afford to annoy the dominant Jat community which forms a huge vote bank in the state.

Khap panchayats have been in the news for the wrong reasons in the last five years after they started annulling the marriages of young couples, saying they were ‘brothers and sisters’ - being from the same ‘gotra’.

Khap decisions declaring several such marriages void have led to murders of young couples by their families or other community members - clear cases of honour killings.

Many couples and their families have also been socially boycotted and forced to leave their homes and lands.

A Karnal court March 30 sentenced five people to death and one person to life imprisonment for killing a couple who married despite belonging to the same ‘gotra’.

The murdered couple, Manoj, 23, and Babli, 19, married in 2007 against the wishes of their families.

They were murdered by members of Babli’s family.

Defiant khap leaders are headed for a confrontation with the state government and the Punjab and Haryana High Court which has given rulings over illegal decisions on marriages announced by various panchayats.

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